Friday, December 30, 2011

Is social media going to replace email?

I've been reading a few articles talking about social media such as Facebook replacing emails. Personally though, I feel that they are missing the whole point. Emails and social media functionality is not exactly the same.

What exactly is e-mail? For those people who doesn't know, e-mail stands for electronic mail. What does it replace? Snail mails, the mails that you get in your letter box. Its functionality is exactly the same, but it does it in a much faster, and sometimes in a more reliable manner.

What is social media like Facebook used for then? Again, I think that it evolved from the forums functionality. If you notice, each particular post functions like a forum thread, each having its own thread of discussion.

Of course you can say that these 2 have similar functionality. True, I do not deny that but there is one main difference. Social media is unstructured, while emails are generally structured because it is initiated by someone to a list of known individuals. In social media, you can have several posts all talking about the same thing, with sometimes random people joining in, and good luck if you're trying to search for a particular reply in the thread. Emails on the other hand, does not have this problem thanks to email clients and even the online email services provided free by providers such as Microsoft.

Social media is good for the organisation if you know how to fully exploit the nature of its functionality. Trying to use it for something that's not built for will create problems for yourself. Let's say if you want to use twitter, make sure you push out the information as and when it is released, and not a few hours after it happens. Understand it, before you try to use it.

Replace e-mail with social media? Well, you can try... I just wish the person maintaining the account good luck.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Laughing Heart

I quote from Charles Bukowski:
your life is your life
don't let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Earth Hour: 31 Mar 2012, 8.30pm

Earth Hour 2012 will take place at 8.30pm on Saturday, March 31, when Singaporeans are encouraged to switch off their lights for an hour.

For one hour, the community, businesses, celebrities and government agencies will be encouraged to switch off lights for Earth Hour and show that Singapore is committed to the planet with the rest of the world. You're also encouraged to engage and share their efforts on social media platforms for Earth Hour by inserting the hashtag #earthhoursg when discussing responsible environmental initiatives that have been undertaken.

You do not need to wait for Earth Hour in order to do your part. Reducing energy wastage is good for the environment and your wallet. For more tips on how to conserve energy, you can refer to their website here. Start now.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Towel Folding Class on board the Legend of the Seas

There are quite a lot of activities on board the Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas cruise, one of which is the towel folding class. The team on board the Royal Caribbean will actually provide steps and instructions (provided after the class) on how to fold the towels into different types of amazing animals. They demo about 5 different types of animals during the class.

It was not possible to take meaningful shots of the process though as I was not in a good position. However, there are some nice pictures of some of the towel decorations that the crew made. It was very interesting and an eye opener.

Below are some pictures of the "animals" created. Enjoy. :)

The tree of animal towels, all made by the crew. :)

Another angle of the tree

Another angle of the tree

Some of the interesting towel creations.

Cute isn't it?


Cute rabbit. :)

Long crocodile, or is it alligator?

One of the dogs created during the class, wearing Gorden's sun glasses. :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Inflation is up 5.7%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2011:
January: 5.5%
February: 5.0%
March: 5.0%
April: 4.5%
May: 4.5%
June: 5.2%
July: 5.4%
August: 5.7%
September: 5.5%
October: 5.4%
November: 5.7%

Transport and Housing are once again leading the pack, rising by 11.6% and 10% respectively year on year. The inflation was as expected in my previous post, most probably due to the increase in food and housing inflation. The Christmas sale is still pushing down the inflation for Clothing & Footwear but apparently, it did not filter down to the all important food items.

December inflation will most probably will go slightly lower if nothing happens on the world front. That will bring inflation to about 5.2% for 2011, as I've indicated back in August here. However, this was way higher than I initially estimated back in May here, mainly due to the war at Libya and the EU crisis.

One thing for sure. I don't think we'll have a 5.2% salary increase for 2012.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Interesting Cake Making demo on board the Legend of the Seas

There are quite a lot of activities on board the Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas cruise, one of which is the "Cake Making" demo. Why the inverted commas? Mainly because the cake is already made, and you're just only putting the finishing touches on it. It helps though that you get to eat free cake at the end of the demo.

It is interesting though how the cake finishing is done, and how many layers are there within it. Below are some pictures I managed to take of the process. Maybe it'll help trigger some ideas on your own cake making. :)

The prepped table before the demo started

The ingredients for finishing the cake.

Pour the sauce over the first layer of the cake. You can put wine inside too if you wish.

Cream time. :)

Put some chocolate cherries if I remember correctly on top of the cream

Cover it and do the same process for all the layers (total 3 layers).

After that, cream the cake fully. :)

Add chocolate flakes on top of the cake

Add chocolate flakes on the side too.

Put some decorations on top of the cake

Cherries again, and if I recall correctly, basil leaves too on top of the cake.

That's it. And being a cake demo show, they prepared one tray of cakes for everyone who was present at the demo. :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Food time in the Legend of the Seas

No way anyone can forget about the food once you're on a cruise, especially when you in the cruise from the Royal Caribbean. Just a couple of things to note on the ship as it may not be that obvious for the first timers.

There are only 2 places where you can go for food. One is the Windjammer cafe which provide meals in the buffet style, and Romeo & Juliet Restaurant which provides meals in an À la carte style. Food wise, I felt that Romeo & Juliet restaurant provides slightly better food than Windjammer cafe which is usually the case if you compare buffet and À la carte meals, but in terms of variety, Windjammer cafe wins it hands down, mostly because it is a buffet. Note that Windjammer cafe sometimes provide snacks during tea breaks. I've never visited it though during that time.

Couple of things to note of the above 2 eating areas. You can dress casually at any time if you're going to the Windjammer cafe for your meals but for Romeo & Juliet restaurant, you'll have to take note of the "dressing of the day" which will be mentioned in your Cruise Compass. However, at no time will you be allowed into the Romeo & Juliet restaurant in your bare feet, shorts or tank tops during dinner, even though it's "casual day". Guys, do note that smart casual equates to shirt and tie, and pants. Formal equates to those dressing that you see for Emmy awards (e.g. Tuxedos). :)

For snacks, there are also 2 places that are open during certain timings. One is the Pizzas, Burgers and Hot Dogs at the Solarium, and the other is Ben & Jerry's Cafe Latte-tudes at Deck 6. I've not tried the former but it seemed that at certain times, it provides free snacks. Snacks however at Ben & Jerry's is chargeable. However, this is the place where I think provides food quite cheaply. A medium cup with 2 scoops of ice-cream only costs USD3.74, inclusive of service charge. A soya latte costs also the same. Personally, I think its cheap.

If you're thirsty at any point in time, you can go to the Thirst Quenchers right outside the Windjammer Cafe for a drink, or the water point inside the Solarium, right outside the Gym. FOC of course.

Now... Pictures time of the yummy food I ate on board the Legend of the Seas. :)

USD3.74 Chocolate Mint Chunk & Chocolate Medium Cup ice-cream

USD3.74 Chocolate Mint Chunk and Blackberry Sorbet medium cup ice-cream

Lemon poppy seeds loaf & Seattle Soya Latte, also from Ben & Jerry's

Quich appetizer from Romeo & Juliet Restaurant

Grilled fish mains from Romeo & Juliet Restaurant

Not so sweet chocolate cake dessert from Romeo & Juliet Restaurant.

Tortilla soup appetizer from Romeo & Juliet Restaurant

Slow roast beef, medium rare, mains from Romeo & Juliet Restaurant.

Strawberry Pavlova dessert from Romeo & Juliet Restaurant

Roast Turkey sandwich from Romeo & Juliet Restaurant

Catch of the day fish from Romeo & Juliet Restaurant

Classic breakfast from Romeo & Juliet Restaurant.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Looking out of the Legend of the Seas

Having recently went on the Royal Caribbean cruise, one of the must do most will not miss out is being out on the deck, looking out towards the big blue sea, and experiencing the strong winds and the scenery. :) Yes, the winds are quite strong, and cold if you're out at night. The night sky is also quite amazing, if there are not many clouds around. You may not be able to see those kind of stars in Singapore. Light pollution at work.

Below are some of the pictures I took of the "scenery" at sea.

Star Cruise Virgo docked beside Legend of the Seas

Expensive houses near the Habourfront Cruise Centre

Waiting for the Sun rise. In the end, it was blocked by the clouds.

Trail of waves at the back of the ship.

Star Cruise Libra docked outside Malaysia

Look of Penang from Legend of the Seas

The other side of Penang, taken from Legend of the Seas.

Night view of Penang

Another cruise ship docked near Legend of the Seas

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Interesting activities on board the Legend of the Seas

Compared to Star Cruise, it seems that the 3 nights Royal Caribbean cruise that I recently went have more interesting activities on board. There are always activities around the clock, even if you're not disembarking the ship for your shore excursions. There's even a library on board. Having said that, not all activities are interesting though. :) Always take note of the Cruise Compass, the daily "newsletter" that you'll get in your room. It will show you all the activities for that day, including most importantly, your meal timings. You can get an additional copy at the Purser's Desk at Deck 5.

One thing to take note is the terminology of main seatings and second seatings, especially important as it involves eating. :) This mostly applies to the À la carte Romeo & Juliet Restaurant. Main seating refers to the first timing of the dinner reservation and second seating will be the next timing. They are usually around 2 hours apart (e.g. Main seating: 630pm, Second seating: 830pm). This is important if you are timing yourself for the shows that are shown at night. Sometimes the shows indicate that it is "For Second Seating Guests". This means that if you watch this particular show, you'll be going for your dinner after the show, in time for the "Second Seating".

The evening shows seem to be different from the ones provided by Star Cruise, as it is very musical in nature, and dance related. I thoroughly enjoyed it though due to my interest in these areas, but some may not. I still encourage people to go for it, especially when Gordon, the cruise director is hosting it. He is a very good host, and very hilarious too. :)

By the way, you should do some channel surfing if you have time in your room. The shows there are quite up-to-date. I saw the last Harry Potter movie, and Captain America on their special movie channel. :)

Let's use the pictures to do the talking for the main activities I went on board the ship.

You will see this every floor near the main lifts. They show you your current location and the other areas in the ship

Centrum at Deck 4. Many of the activities are held here, including the farewell party

Christmas tree in the Centrum. The lifts you see goes all the way to Deck 11.

If you want to know the time, just look up from the Centrum. :)

Interesting art near the lift at deck 7

That's Entertainment Theatre, where all the shows are being held. The timing is not standard so remember to take a look at the cruise compass.

The rock climbing wall at one end of the ship at deck 9. It is not always open, due to safety reason

Mini golf course, just behind the rock climbing wall at deck 9.

Indoor swimming pool at Deck 9, within the Solarium. The water is very salty by the way.  There are also jacuzzis with hot water. The pizzas, burgers and hot dogs station are behind the indoor pool.

Outdoor swimming pool at deck 9. There are jacuzzis too with hot water.

The Windjammer Cafe at Deck 9, the place where you'll have your buffet. This is the place where you'll have your lunch on the first day of the cruise.

Interior of the Windjammer Cafe. Take your time to walk around. Food is so so.

Take this "package" after you get your meal. You'll find it in front of the each buffet station. It includes the napkin, a fork and a knife.

Christmas decorations within the Windjammer Cafe. Seems to be made from some candies.

Zoomed in picture of the Christmas decorations within the Windjammer Cafe.

Romeo & Juliet À la carte restaurant at Deck 4 and 5. Food is slightly better than Windjammer Cafe. Do note of which deck to go by referring to the Cruise Compass. It may be different every day.

Viking Crown Lounge at Deck 11. The place where most of the Karaoke happens at night. :)

Interesting towel decoration on my sofa after I came back from an activity

The Rock n Roll party on the last day of the cruise. A MUST go. :)

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